Ruffling The Feathers
There has been some quiet speculation that an upcoming addition to Google search results will throw a cat amongst the pigeons. A new improvement that could shake up e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay.
In early May, news broke that a ‘buy’ button would be added to Google search ads, and over the last week retail experts have been crying foul, while large e-commerce businesses have remained quiet.
At this stage, if you’re in the retail or e-tail spaces there is nothing to worry about. For the moment, the change will only be limited only to the Google product listing ads on mobile, now adding a so called “Buy” button.
Since consumers are already able to buy things on Google search, we don’t predict this change alone to cause a shift in behavior. What this does show, however, is that Google is committed to developing its shopping platform and looking to evolve from simply the go-to place for finding products, into the go-to place for advertising them; picture, price, and all.
Should Retailers Be Worried?
If Google decide to take things one step further and build out a unified product page, cart and transaction engine, they could seriously challenge the status quo. Incumbent e-commerce giants could loose a substantial chunk of their most important asset – the size of their audience. Businesses that sell product through an online store could also struggle as more customers buy further up the funnel. Users could potentially go through the process of research, consideration, and purchase before ever visiting a retailer website.
A Threat to Brand Loyalty
Not only retailers should be worried if Google proceeds with their e-commerce site, but it can be bad news for brand loyalty too. Currently, when consumers are researching and shopping for a product, they often go to the Google search page and type in the brand or product they’re looking for. Google then generates results for the brand, which normally appears on top of the results page. Whether it’s product listing ads or the brand website link, users can easily click onto their homepage where they’re taken on a journey to get the look and feel for the brand and product.
With an e-commerce platform, Google would most likely show results of the product sponsored by Google with direct links to their e-commerce platform on the top of the page, where they can compare the product price and features alongside similar products from different brands. Users with or without brand loyalty would most likely be tempted to go for the lowest price.
The Eternal Need To Evolve
As for the immediate future, it’s business as usual. Marketers that currently trade through eBay and similar online marketplaces should make sure they’ve added the Google merchant center to their mix of marketplaces. The digital world evolves every single day, so it’s important to remain ever privy to the current digital climate in which newer, more efficient ways to engage consumers are forever changing.